Brains And Beauty Beat Job Losses

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Brains And Beauty Beat Job Losses

Date posted: 5 March 2012

An Essex student has proved she has business brains as well as beauty skills after buying her own spa, and saving three of her colleagues' jobs in the process.

Sophie Collins, 21, from the village of Blackmore in Essex, worked at the Kukana Spa at the Orsett Hall Hotel to support herself and gain vital work experience while studying a BSc (Hons) International Spa Management degree at the University of Derby Buxton.

In the final year of her studies the business went into liquidation but, rather than facing unemployment and a difficult job market Sophie drew on the confidence she had acquired on her course and her entrepreneurial spirit to take on the business herself.

Sophie said: "When I heard the business was going under I realised that it could be an opportunity for me to do what I had dreamed of and set up my own spa. My University degree had a focus on business management and throughout the course I had gained work experience in a number of spas, so I knew I had the confidence and the skills to give it a go.

"Stock was very low and most of the equipment was taken by the previous owners so we had to close for two weeks to get everything up and running again without losing any regular clients.

"It's been a real challenge but I'm proud that in going it alone and setting up the business myself I've been able to hold onto three of my full time colleagues."

Sophie's spa, which is still called Kukana, now offers a host of different treatments including complementary therapies such as ESPA essential, hot stone and Thai compress massages and bridal packages; all with chromatherapy lighting and acoustic therapy to create the perfect ambience.

"We're doing really well so far and hope that many of the changes we have implemented will give us the edge and make the Kukana spa a success," Sophie added.

Isobel Stockdale, Programme Leader for the International Spa Management degree at the University of Derby Buxton, said: "We encourage all of our students to gain real world work experience throughout their courses, and this often gives them the confidence and skills to launch their own businesses too. In Sophie's case, she's doing so before she even finishes her degree course, which is great.

"We all wish her every success for the future, and look forward to supporting Sophie in her business venture as she completes her degree."

For more information on the BSc (Hons) International Spa Management degree at the University of Derby Buxton visit

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